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Former Cardinals pitcher Mortensen DFA'd

Clayton Mortensen, a lanky righthanded pitcher who was traded by the Cardinals to Oakland as part of the package that landed Matt Holliday before the trade deadline in 2009, has been designated for assignment.

Oakland cut ties with Mortensen to make room on the roster for reliever Grant Balfour which the club formally signed Tuesday to a major league contract.

Mortensen was considered one of the top pitching prospects in the St. Louis organization prior to the trade. The 2007 first round draft pick was called up by the Redbirds in 2009 and pitched in one game before the deal went down. After the swap he made six starts for Oakland and was 2-4 with a 7.81 ERA. In 2010 he made one start for the Athletics and managed six innings with three runs allowed on four hits. But the writing seemed to be on the wall when a spot opened up in the rotation due to an injury and he was never given a chance to plug the hole.

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